Tag Archive | encouragement

Hate Week Essay #3: The World will hate you

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. (John 15:18)

The kind of hate we discussed on Monday was the kind of righteous holy hate that God has against sin, divorce, lying, and the 6 other things the Proverbs listed. On Tuesday I followed that up with looking at our hate against those things that God hates, which, mirroring our God, is also a righteous hate (hopefully).

But the world’s hate comes from a completely different fountain. It comes from satan’s river of hate, and the world not only drinks from that fountain, but is immersed and submerged in it.

For what reason does the world hate Jesus? He explained that in John 7:7b

but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.

The Gospel is a command. It is a command for repentance and to obedience to God. People are commanded to repent because, as the other part of the Gospel so clearly says, people’s works are evil and do not please God. They will be judged one day.

No one likes to be told they are sinners, evil, and judged as wanting. In fact, the reprobate mind (as the unsaved possess) cannot understand those things. Therefore they will hate the one who tells them. They hated Jesus for it, and they hated it so much they killed Him.

Gill’s Commentary: how they had expressed their hatred, not only by words, calling him a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a sinner, a Samaritan, a madman, one that had a devil, yea, Beelzebub himself, but by deeds; taking up stones to stone him more than once, leading him to the brow of an hill, in order to cast him down headlong, consulting by various means to take away his life, as Herod did in his very infancy;

And as Paul alluded to here, they will hate the Apostles and disciples for it.

Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? (Galatians 4:16).

Stephen told the Jewish leaders the truth, and they were cut to the heart, but as Ellicott’s Commentary explains, it wasn’t a righteous anger over their own sin, it was a hatred of the one who told them.

They were cut to the heart.—Literally, were sawn through and through. The word describes a keener pang than the “pricked” of Acts 2:37, producing, not repentance, but the frenzy of furious anger.

The world has a killing hatred of Christ and His people.

Some Christians think that if we make the church friendly, those who are seeking will eventually relax into repentance. But it is not so. There is no one seeking after God, no not one, Romans 3:11 says. Therefore there are no seeker friendly churches. And secondly, the Gospel is tampered with to make it palatable to those whom people think are seeking. But the Gospel is a violent thing, it commands what doesn’t want to submit, it reveals what doesn’t want to be revealed. It judges, it forces. Any Gospel that’s changed in any aspect is no Gospel at all.

Paul said in Galatians 1:8,

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.

No, we must carry the exact message the King sent to His Ambassadors, whether it’s received eagerly or in rejected in hatred.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible reminds us not to be deterred.

If the world hate you – The friendship of the world they were not to expect, but they were not to be deterred from their work by its hatred. They had seen the example of Jesus. No opposition of the proud, the wealthy, the learned, or the men of power, no persecution or gibes, had deterred him from his work. Remembering this, and having his example steadily in the eye, they were to labor not less because wicked men should oppose and deride them. It is enough for the disciple to be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord, Matthew 10:25.

They hated Jesus. At some point, someone will hate you (and me) for sharing the Gospel, or for witnessing with our life and deeds. And that is good, for we would be like our Master. It’s hard to slough off the world’s hatred, but this world is not our home. We are from a far country, where no hatred exists, only love and devotion to our Master.

prickly 3

Wayback Wednesday: The Bride Awaits her Groom

This first appeared on The End Time in February 2012.


What a lovely and spotless bride Jesus is creating! We often look around and see the mud and grime of the world and despair. For those of us who are older, we remember innocent days when children played outside unsupervised, roamed the streets with sticks and balls and bats, safe and happy. We remember when crime was lower and people were nicer. Today is it pretty ugly out there, and that of course is because of sin. But…the Bride of Jesus is shining, spotless, and beautiful! Do not forget that! Wearing garments white as snow, standing by the crystal sea, singing praises to Jesus! His acceptance of all the wrath of God on our behalf made possible our entrance into heaven. Our ugly and putrid sins were forgiven through His sacrificial act.

This is the long betrothal period, when the bride is separated from her groom. The bride are all those people past, present and future in the Age of Grace who have believed on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, and His resurrection. We are anxious, waiting. We are making preparations such as remaining faithful. We are looking forward to the wedding day when everything will be perfect and we will be ready! (Revelation 19:7)

All brides on her wedding day are beautiful. She is radiant, and glowing and smiling and happy. Her white garment is spotless and adorns and wraps her gracefully. All the believers are installed in New Jerusalem, the holy city, which takes on the characteristics of the bride herself, because we who are His bride are in it. (Revelation 21:2).

“I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”

We are finally united with our Groom!

The world is ugly and putrid and dripping with evil and poison and sin. But that is not us, thanks to Jesus our Christ. We are not of the world. Believers are spotless and beautiful in Christ’s eyes.

…Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 25b-27)

Stand up, you believers, and make ready for the Groom. You are so pure and lovely in His eyes. We who eagerly await Him are also eagerly awaited BY Him!


Bible Reading Plan thoughts: Reading the introductions

The Bible Reading Plan for today is to read Psalm 6-8. I’ve resolved of late to read the introductions of the passages and not skip them. Also, to read the endings and read the notes, like these in the Psalms I’m about to discuss. If all scripture is profitable, then I shouldn’t skip the intros, conclusions, lists of names, genealogies, or musical directions, lol.

Often David or the other Psalmist would make notes to the musicians who were going to play the songs, like this that begins Psalm 6-

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. According to sheminith. A psalm of David.

Of course, once I read the note and see something like ‘Sheminith’, I got curious. Like, what is a Sheminith?

I read in Easton’s Bible Dictionary about Sheminith:

That the Hebrew of shemini is an ordinal number, eight. The Easton’s Bible Dictionary says sheminith is Eight; octave, a musical term, supposed to denote the lowest note sung by men’s voices (1 Chronicles 15:21; Psalm 6; 12, title).

Nobody really knows for sure. Other Bible dictionaries defined it slightly differently, but along the same lines. Some said, ‘we dunno, the word has passed out of use and understanding.’ I’ts still interesting to look these things up, though.

Psalm 7 is a Shiggaion. Easton’s Bible Dictionary defines Shiggaion,

From the verb shagah, “to reel about through drink,” occurs in the title of Psalm 7. The plural form, shigionoth, is found in Habakkuk 3:1. The word denotes a lyrical poem composed under strong mental emotion; a song of impassioned imagination accompanied with suitable music; a dithyrambic ode.

Psalm 8 is “according to The Gittith: A stringed instrument of music.”

This word is found in the titles of Psalm 8, 81, 84. In these places the LXX. render the word by “on the wine-fats.” The Targum explains by “on the harp which David brought from Gath.” It is the only stringed instrument named in the titles of the Psalms. Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Well, that was about as clear as mud.

I do know that once we’re in heaven, we’ll likely be singing. (Revelation 5:9). Will we be singing these Psalms in heaven, properly as David originally wrote them, (According to sheminith, a Shiggaion, or with The Gittith?). I hope so. Wouldn’t it be nice if we did!

Meanwhile I resolve not to skip the intros, conclusions, lists, or notations. All scripture is profitable… I don’t always understand how scripture profits me, but I trust that it does.


Further reading

I always enjoy Phil Johnson’s knowledge of the Psalms and his clear delivery in explaining them.

Here is a page of Phil preaching the Psalms, including one we are to read today, Psalm 8. Interestingly, Phil introduces his sermon by explaining what can be known about the mysterious term ‘according to the Gitteth’.

wed harp

A year end thank you for all that Grace To You has done for me

A letter I wrote to GTY regarding thanks for the radio ministry. The ministry means SO MUCH to me.

Dear Grace To You,

I want to take a moment to share how God used John’s radio broadcast in my spiritual life.

I was saved at age 44. Before salvation, I spent my life as all sinners do, for myself, rebelling against God. New England is a dark place, and an adult can go a lifetime and not run into anything Christian, or a Bible, or a preacher. I was ignorant of anything related to Jesus. I was certainly ignorant of my own sin, except for the conscience that pricked me.

me with abby one copy1

Camping in FL. 20 years ago, I didn’t know Jesus.

My husband and I liked to travel and we decided to take a long cross-country camping trip in our pop-up camper. We listened to the radio all along the way. We enjoyed talk radio and searched for programs that would help us pass the time as we drove. As we entered the southern part of the United States, we inevitably came across the radio dial of typical southern preachers with their funny accent and pulpit pounding exposition, yelling “JAY-sus! We’d laugh and tee hee about those silly Jesus people. And then we’d hurriedly change the dial.

Whenever we came across John’s Grace To You broadcast, and the introduction music soon became familiar as his program was on many stations, his voice was different. It was logical, soothing. The content of what he was saying intrigued me, as much as it repulsed me. My conscience was pricked even more. I always lingered a bit, listening. But then my husband would change the dial away from the “Jesus stuff” as we called it, I’d feel both relieved that the spiritual pressure was gone but curious for more, too. I didn’t understand this push-pull.

Five years later, the Lord saved me. The internet offered a wealth of sermons, devotionals, and biblical instruction. But which one to pick? Then one day I heard that music. “I know that music!” I said. I heard John’s voice. “I know that guy!” I said. And now that I was saved, the content of what John was saying made sense. More than that, the content of what he was saying inspired me, illuminated my mind, and soothed me. I quickly devoured sermon after sermon. Having no church baggage to unlearn, John’s sermons went straight into my soul. He taught the Doctrine of Justification, and moved to the Doctrine of Election.

Six years after that, I listened live as John finished preaching through the New Testament. It was a historic moment. Even more personally for me, it was a poignant moment. Before I was even saved, God had used John to spark my conscience as a sinner curiously repulsed by the ‘Jesus stuff’ he was preaching, through to salvation, to growth by the Spirit, to burgeoning maturity and becoming a Titus 3 church woman to the younger ladies. God used John through it all. He is still using John in my spiritual life as I read many of his books and still listen to the wonderful sermons.

chisos mountains

Camping in Texas. One day in the future, I’d hear the GTY music and my mind and soul would light up

God used John to preload me in readiness for the moment I would in His timing, come into the kingdom and begin learning the glories of God. John’s familiar voice, the familiar music, led me by His grace to this solid ministry upon which God laid the foundation of my growth.

Thank you John MacArthur and all of you at Grace To You. I praise God for the men He has raised up.


But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” (John 5:17)

God is always working in the lives of those who He will eventually call into His kingdom, and continues working in our lives after that, forever and ever.


There is encouragement in prophecy

The prophetic scriptures are often overlooked as being allegorical only (they’re not), as being irrelevant (they’re not) as being fulfilled (not all of them) as being tinged with the stigma of not being as important as the ‘real’ verses (nope, just as important). I’ve noticed that the Bible says we should be excited about the soon appearing of our Lord, encouraged by the doctrine of imminence, (1 Thessalonians 4:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:11), and in awe of the Lord’s deeds (Exodus 15:11; Psalm 66:5; Zephaniah 2:11…).

God, in His infinite wisdom, put prophecy in His Word because He knows it is good for us to understand His future plans, as far as He has revealed them. (Amos 3:7). Thus, the Lord has put prophetical truth into His Word because He wants us to know! Prophecy reveals His sovereignty more than any other scripture, in my opinion. He tells us thousands of years prior and then it comes true exactly the way He said. I never get tired of seeing it in culture and reading it in scripture and knowing it dear in my heart.

“Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning,And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’ Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it.” (Isaiah 46:9-11).

In addition, prophecy reveals His sovereignty because it shows that His purposes cannot be set aside, diverted nor thwarted. He is over all that exists, and He will bring it about as He has said.

Prophecy leads us to Christ. For who above anyone else can do these things. Who is like Him? None!

“Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come–yes, let him foretell what will come.” (Isaiah 44:7).

There is no God like our God, and He chose to reveal details of His plan and purpose from the ancient of times to now. Learn it! Study it! Be humbled by it! You will be in awe of Him, AND you will be comforted. He will bring about our redemption just as He brings about these other things. He will bring about our renewal from creatures of sin to creations of His glory. It is a comfort to remain in His truth, His word is a security blanket that comforts as much as it convicts.

“Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:11-12).


Kay Cude poetry: When We Remember

Kay Cude poetry. Used with permission. Artist’s statement below.

As I continue to go through them my perspective is reinforced with the fundamental truth: it is necessary that we learn and grow through “issues” and situations we’d rather avoid. They will either drive us deeper into Scripture and prayer, or we will allow them to drive us into despondency, confusion and sorrow. When we experience breath-knocking blows, above all else it is necessary that we “remember” Who our first love is and that He, Christ is our ever-present secure help. He is our All-in-All, our sufficiency, protection, strength and giver of wisdom. We must remember that issues and circumstance have eternal purpose for His beloved redeemed.


Full of Eyes: Love is the measure of knowledge

Here is artist, visual theologian, and animator Chris Powers of the ministry Full of Eyes with a visual representation of the verse from 1 Corinthians 8:3. His work can be viewed on Patreon (where you can support him also), website Full of Eyes, and Youtube. His explanationis below.

known by god
Artist’s statement below:

1 Corinthians 8:3, “…if anyone loves God, he is known by God.”

The Passage Explained

The tense of the verbs used in 1 Corinthians 8:3 sheds some light on Paul’s intended meaning. Translated in a way that emphasizes the verbal tenses, 1 Corinthians 8:3 could read:

“But if anyone is loving God (present active tense), he has been known by God (perfect passive tense).”

Paul’s point here is not that our love for God somehow causes us to stand out in the crowd so that God acknowledges us, or that our love “earns” or “secures” or “attracts” His knowledge of us. Rather, he is teaching that God’s knowledge of us is the foundation for our love of Him.

Now, of course, since God’s knowledge is perfect and infinite, God “knows” all people. How, then, can I say that His knowledge of a person is the basis of their love for Him? If God knows all people, and if Paul tells us that God’s knowledge of a person leads to their love for God, then how is it that all people do not love God?

The answer comes when we realize the sort of knowledge Paul likely has in view here. He is not talking about God’s general knowledge of all people, but of the saving, choosing, predestining knowledge that He has for His elect people. It’s the sort of knowledge that we read about in Romans 8:29-30,

“For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified.”

In this passage, God’s knowledge of a person constitutes their being predestined to glory in Christ. The idea is not that God knows that a person will trust Christ and so—on the basis of that knowledge—predestines them. Rather it is because God knows them as His own that they subsequently trust Christ. In Romans 8:29-30, God’s knowledge of a person is an effective knowledge, a choosing knowledge, a knowledge that causes the one known to become what God—in His sovereign will as Creator—knows them to be, namely, His elect people.

God’s knowledge of us is foundational to who we are, in fact, it might be argued that we are nothing other than what God knows us to be. We are His creatures, sustained from moment to moment by His will (Hebrews 1:3), if He ever—even for one second—”forgot” about us, we would be obliterated from the timeline of reality….we would cease to exist. We are only because God knows us to be. And since His knowledge of us is the spring of our existence, if He knows us to be His children in Christ, then that is what we are. This is why His foreknowledge of His people as being united to Christ eventually manifests in their lives as individual choices to trust in Christ—we are in Christ because He knows us to be in Christ, not the other way around.

It seems to me that Paul has this sort of “Romans 8:29-30 knowing” in mind when he says in 1 Corinthians 3:8 that, “if anyone is loving God, he has been known by God” (my translation). In other words, a person’s love for the One True God as revealed in Jesus Christ is a strong proof they have been known by God and are thus chosen as one of His own. When our hearts and minds behold the glory of God in Christ (2 Cor.4:6) and rise up to Him in adoration and faith and hope, we are bearing witness to ourselves and others that God has known us—from all eternity—to be His own in His Son (this same concept seems to be stated in different words in Romans 8:15-16 where the cry of our hearts to God as “Abba” bears witness that we are His children).

However, it must be noted that there is no love for God if there is no love for others. Paul makes this clear in 1 Corinthians 8 and following as he elaborates on the absolute necessity of building others up, laying down one’s rights for the good of neighbor, etc. The love for God that bears witness to having been known by God must also be Christ-like love for other.

So, in response to the Corinthians who were using their knowledge as a bludgeon to beat others into submission, Paul dismisses their “knowledge” as worthless and points instead to the necessity not primarily of knowing, but of being known, being known by God. If God has known us, then we will be marked by a love for God that manifests as a self-giving, Christ-imaging love for others.

But how can one seek this knowledge? How can one seek to be known by God? You cannot. Rather, Paul shifts the emphasis from building one’s self up to building others up, i.e., to loving others. If anyone has true knowledge, it will bear the fruit of love of God and others, and where such love is present, it bears witness—not only to the knowledge of the one who loves—but (and more fundamentally) to God’s knowledge of them. If there is no love, then there is no evidence of knowledge—neither a person’s knowledge of God, nor God’s electing knowledge of that person.

The Picture Explained

In this picture I tried to emphasize the two types of knowledge that Paul addresses in 1 Corinthians 8:1-3. At the edges of the image are those who “think they know something,” that is, those whose knowledge builds themselves up rather than building others up. The “light” around their heads is dark gold to show the flawed nature of their knowing, they “do not yet know as they ought to know.”

In the center of the image is a depiction of the second sort of knowledge that Paul mentions, namely, being known by God. The woman’s head and shoulders are encompassed within the halo that represents God’s knowledge of her in Christ, portraying that not only is she known by Him, but that His knowledge of her illuminates her understanding as well (Galatians 4:9). Her outstretched hands are in the wounded hands of the Son, showing that God’s electing knowledge of her entails her being purchased by the atoning work of Christ.

However, the woman’s outstretched hands also place her in a posture that images Christ on the cross. God’s knowledge of her in Christ results in her conformity to the love of Christ. This self-giving love is also pictured by the water flowing from her heart into the Christian community, even over those who do not love in return.

More foundational than knowing something about God, is to be known by God in His Son, Jesus Christ. To be known in this way by the Creator of the universe is to be His blood-bought child, and will of necessity result in our knowing and loving Him in Christ, which in turn, results in our love for those around us. Love is the measure of knowledge.